Sam Rockwell

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Sam Rockwell
Sam Rockwell (8279227257).jpg
Born (1968-11-05) November 5, 1968 (age 45)
San Mateo, California, U.S.
Education Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts
Occupation Actor
Years active 1989–present.
Partner(s) Leslie Bibb (2007–present)

Sam Rockwell (born November 5, 1968) is an American actor known for his leading roles in Lawn Dogs (1997), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Matchstick Men (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Choke (2008), Moon (2009), and Seven Psychopaths (2012), as well as for his supporting roles in The Green Mile (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), Frost/Nixon (2008), Conviction (2010), Iron Man 2 (2010), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), and The Way Way Back (2013).

Early life[edit]

Rockwell was born in San Mateo, California,[1] the son of actors who divorced when he was five years old.[2] He was raised by his father, Pete Rockwell, in San Francisco, while his mother, Penny Hess, stayed behind in New York (he spent his summer vacations with her). Rockwell had what The New York Times described in 1998 as a "footloose upbringing" and, at age 10, made his brief stage debut playing Humphrey Bogart in an East Village improv comedy sketch starring his mother.[3]

He attended San Francisco School of the Arts with Margaret Cho and dropped out before graduation. He later received his high school diploma after his parents enrolled him in an Outward Bound-style alternative high school called Urban Pioneers because, as Rockwell explained, "I just wanted to get stoned, flirt with girls, go to parties."[4] The school, the actor said, "had a reputation as a place stoners went because it was easy to graduate," but the program ended up helping him regain an interest in performing. After appearing in an independent film during his senior year, he graduated and moved to New York to pursue an acting career.[5]

Acting career[edit]

Early films[edit]

After his first film role in the 1989 horror film Clownhouse (produced by Francis Ford Coppola's production company), which he filmed when based in San Francisco, he moved to New York and trained at the William Esper Studios. His career slowly gathered momentum in the early 1990s, when he alternated between small-screen guest spots in TV shows like The Equalizer, NYPD Blue and Law & Order and small roles in films such as Last Exit to Brooklyn and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He also appeared as the title character in The Search for One-eye Jimmy. During this time Rockwell worked in restaurants as a busboy and delivered burritos by bicycle.[6] At one point, Rockwell even worked as a private detective's assistant. "I tailed a chick who was having an affair and took pictures of her at this motel", he told Rolling Stone in 2002. "It was pretty sleazy." A well-paying Miller commercial in 1994 finally allowed him to pursue acting full-time.

The turning point in Rockwell's career was Tom DiCillo's 1996 film Box of Moonlight, in which he played an eccentric man-child who dresses like Davy Crockett and lives in an isolated mobile home. The ensuing acclaim put him front and center with casting agents and new-found fans alike, with Rockwell himself acknowledging that "That film was definitely a turning point...I was sort of put on some independent film map after 10 years in New York."[5]

He also won strong reviews for the 1997 film Lawn Dogs, where he played a working-class lawn mower who befriends a wealthy 10-year-old girl (Mischa Barton) in an upper-class gated community in Kentucky; Rockwell's performance won him Best Actor honors at both the Montreal World Film Festival and the Catalonian International Film Festival. In 1999, Rockwell played prisoner William "Wild Bill" Wharton in the Stephen King prison drama The Green Mile. At the time of the film's shooting, Rockwell explained why he was attracted to playing such unlikeable characters. He said, "I like that dark stuff. I think heroes should be flawed. There's a bit of self-loathing in there, and a bit of anger... But after this, I've really got to play some lawyers, or a British aristocrat, or they'll put a label on me."[2]

Hollywood recognition[edit]

Rockwell at the 2009 premiere of Moon at the Tribeca Film Institute

After appearances as a bumbling actor in 1999's science fiction satire Galaxy Quest, in the 1999 Shakespeare adaptation A Midsummer Night's Dream as Flute, and as gregarious villain Eric Knox in Charlie's Angels (2000), Rockwell won the biggest leading role of his career as The Gong Show host Chuck Barris in George Clooney's 2002 directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Rockwell's performance was well received, and the film received generally positive reviews.

Rockwell has also received positive notices for his role opposite Nicolas Cage in Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men (2003), with Entertainment Weekly calling him "destined by a kind of excessive interestingness to forever be a colorful sidekick."[7] He received somewhat more mixed reviews as Zaphod Beeblebrox in the 2005 film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He then had a notable supporting role as Charley Ford, brother of Casey Affleck's character Robert Ford, in the well-received 2007 drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, in which Brad Pitt played the lead role of Jesse James. According to an interview on The Howard Stern Show, director Jon Favreau considered casting him as the titular character in Iron Man as the studio was initially hesitant to work with Robert Downey, Jr., who had been considered for his role in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Rockwell appeared in the Iron Man sequel, released in 2010, as Tony Stark's rival weapons' developer, Justin Hammer. He is said to have accepted the role without reading the script. He had never heard of the character before he was contacted about the part, and was unaware that Hammer is an old man in the comic books.

In addition to big-budget feature films, Rockwell also appears in indie films such as The F Word and he recently played a randy, Halloween-costume-clad Batman in a short, Robin's Big Date, opposite Justin Long as Robin. He also starred in the 2008 film Snow Angels opposite Kate Beckinsale. He had worked on several occasions with the comedy troupe Stella (Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain), making cameo appearances in their short films and eponymous TV series.

Rockwell played Victor Mancini in the film Choke, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Critic Roger Ebert said of his performance that he "seems to have become the latter-day version of Christopher Walken – not all the time, but when you need him, he's your go-to guy for weirdness."[8]

In 2007, Rockwell guest-starred in the Web series Casted: The Continuing Chronicles of Derek Riffchyn, Greatest Casting Director in the World. Ever. He appears opposite Jonathan Togo as Derek and Justin Long as Scott. Rockwell plays an aspiring young actor named Pete Sampras.[9]

In 2009, he starred in the critically acclaimed science fiction film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones. His performance was widely praised, with some critics calling for an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination.[10]

On May 3, 2010, it was announced that Rockwell would team up again with Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau, for Favreau's adaptation of the graphic novel Cowboys & Aliens. He played a bar owner named Doc who joins in the pursuit of the aliens.[11]

Rockwell also appeared in Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths,[12] as well as Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's The Way Way Back.[13]

In January 2014, it was announced that Rockwell was cast in the upcoming film The Eel, in which he will play an escaped convict. The film will be produced by Kevin Walsh, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, marking Rockwell's second collaboration with all three.[14]

Theatre[edit]

Since 1992, Rockwell has been a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company, where John Ortiz is a co-artistic director. In 2005, Philip Seymour Hoffman directed him in Stephen Adly Guirgis' hit play, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. This past August, Rockwell work-shopped an upcoming LAByrinth production, North of Mason-Dixon, scheduled to debut in London in 2007 and then premiere in New York City later the same year. Other plays in which Rockwell performed are: Dumb Waiter (2001), Zoo Story (2001), Hot L Baltimore (2000), Goosepimples (1998), Love and Human Remains, Face Divided, Orphans, Den of Thieves, Dessert at Waffle House, The Largest Elizabeth, and A Behanding in Spokane.

Personal life[edit]

Rockwell has never been married, and stated in a 2007 interview, "I definitely don't want to become a parent. It's not my bag."[15]

Sam has been in a relationship with actress Leslie Bibb since 2007, when they reportedly met in Los Angeles as he was filming Frost/Nixon. They both appeared in Iron Man 2.[16]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Clownhouse Randy
1989 Last Exit to Brooklyn Al
1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Head Thug
1991 Strictly Business Gary
1992 Jack and His Friends Louie
1992 In the Soup Pauli
1992 Light Sleeper Jealous
1992 Happy Hell Night Young Henry Collins
1993 Law & Order Officer Weddeker Episode 3.21 "Manhood"
1994 Somebody to Love Polish Guy
1994 Search for One-eye Jimmy, TheThe Search for One-eye Jimmy One-eye Jimmy
1995 Drunks Tony
1995 Glory Daze Rob
1995 Mercy Matty
1996 Bad Liver and a Broken Heart Broken Heart
1996 Basquiat Thug
1996 Box of Moon Light The Kid, aka Bucky
1997 Prince Street Donny Hanson Series regular
1997 Arresting Gina Sonny
1997 SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground Man Eating Television film
Segment: Sax Cantor Riff
1997 Lawn Dogs Trent Best Actor Award at the Sitges Film Festival
Best Actor Award at the Montreal World Film Festival
1998 Call Back, TheThe Call Back Alan/Christopher Walken
1998 Jerry and Tom Jerry
1998 Louis & Frank Sam
1998 Safe Men Sam
1998 Celebrity Darrow Entourage
1999 Midsummer Night's Dream, AA Midsummer Night's Dream Francis Flute
1999 Green Mile, TheThe Green Mile William 'Wild Bill' Wharton Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1999 Galaxy Quest Guy Fleegman
2000 Charlie's Angels Eric Knox
2001 D.C. Smalls Karaoke Singer
2001 Pretzel Sam
2001 BigLove Nate Short film
2001 Made Hotel clerk Uncredited
2001 Heist Jimmy Silk
2002 13 Moons Rick
2002 Running Time The Hunted Short film
2002 Welcome to Collinwood Pero
2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Chuck Barris Berlin International Film Festival – Silver Bear for Best Actor
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2002 Stella Shorts 1998–2002 Pizza Guy Direct-to-video
Short: Bored
2003 Matchstick Men Frank Mercer Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
2004 Piccadilly Jim Piccdilly Jim/Jim Crocker
2005 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, TheThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox
2005 F Word, TheThe F Word Jeremy
2005 Robin's Big Date The Bat-man Short film
2007 Joshua Brad Cairn Best Actor Award at the Sitges Film Festival
2007 Snow Angels Glenn Marchand
2007 Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, TheThe Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Charley Ford
2008 Woman in Burka Sam
2008 Choke Victor Mancini Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2008 Frost/Nixon James Reston Jr. Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2009 The Winning Season Bill Also producer
2009 Moon Sam Bell Best Actor Award at the Sitges Film Festival
Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Irish Film and Television Award for Best International Actor
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Scream Award for Best Sci-Fi Actor
2009 G-Force (film) Darwin Voice only
2009 G-Force (video game) Darwin Video game
2009 Gentlemen Broncos Bronco/Brutus
2009 Everybody's Fine Robert
2010 Iron Man 2 Justin Hammer
2010 F—K Short film
2010 Conviction Kenneth Waters Boston Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Hollywood Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Iowa Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
2011 Gettysburg Narrator
2011 Cowboys & Aliens Doc
2011 Sitter, TheThe Sitter Karl
2012 Seven Psychopaths Billy Bickle Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
2013 The Way, Way Back Owen Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor in a Comedy
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
2013 A Single Shot John Moon
2013 Trust Me Aldo
2013 A Case of You Gary
2013 Better Living Through Chemistry Douglas Varney
2014 All Hail the King Justin Hammer Short
2014 Laggies Craig Post-Production
TBA Why Now?! Post-production
2015 Poltergeist Eric Bowen Filming

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Group Award Film/Show Result Win/Nom
1997 Montreal World Film Festival Best Actor Lawn Dogs Won 1–0
1997 Catalonian International Film Festival (CIFF) Best Actor Lawn Dogs Won 2–0
2000 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Theatrical Motion Picture The Green Mile (w/ Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Jeffrey DeMunn, Graham Greene, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Jeter, Doug Hutchison, Barry Pepper, Harry Dean Stanton) Nominated 2–1
2003 Berlin International Film Festival Best Actor Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Won 3–1
2003 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Actor In A Leading Role Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Won 4–1
2003 Satellite Awards Best Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role, Musical Or Comedy Confessions of a Dangerous Mind Nominated 4–2
2004 Satellite Awards Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role, Musical Or Comedy Matchstick Men Nominated 4–3
2007 CIFF Best Actor Joshua Won 5–3
2008 Satellite Awards Best Actor In A Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy Choke Nominated 5–4
2008 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize Choke (w/ Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald, Brad William Henke) Won 6–4
2009 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture Frost/Nixon (w/ Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Toby Jones, Matthew Macfadyen, Rebecca Hall) Nominated 6–5
2009 Seattle International Film Festival Best Actor Moon Won 7–5
2009 CIFF Best Actor Moon Won 8–5
2009 Scream Awards Best Sci-Fi Actor Moon Nominated 8–6
2009 British Independent Film Awards Best Actor Moon Nominated 8–7
2009 Detroit Film Critics Society Award Best Actor Moon Nominated 8–8
2009 The Golden Schmoes Movie Awards Best Actor Moon Won 9–8
2009 Saturn Award Best Actor Moon Nominated 9–9

References[edit]

  1. ^ "California, Birth Index, 1905-1995". FamilySearch. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Sam Rockwell; One-Man Gallery of Rogues, Crooks and Oddballs". by Laura Winters, The New York Times. September 13, 1998. Retrieved March 25, 2008. 
  3. ^ “Sam Rockwell,” by Miranda Spencer. Biography, January 2003.
  4. ^ "Today's Buzz Stories: Rockwell turned around". CNN Showbuzz. December 23, 2002. Archived from the original on July 20, 2007. Retrieved February 10, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b Scott, A. O. (January 23, 1998). "AT THE MOVIES; A Career Picks Up". by Bernard Weinraub, The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2007. 
  6. ^ “Sam Rockwell,” by M.B. Rolling Stone, 10/3/02.
  7. ^ "Movie Review: Matchstick Men". by Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly. September 10, 2003. Retrieved February 10, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Choke". Chicago Sun-Times. September 25, 2008. 
  9. ^ Casted: Episode 2 – Enter The Sampras! (with Sam Rockwell) on YouTube
  10. ^ Moon. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on 2012-08-18.
  11. ^ "Sam Rockwell cast in COWBOYS & ALIENS". collider.com. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Martin McDonagh Helms ‘Seven Psychopaths’, Colin Farrell among all-star cast". iftn.com. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  13. ^ Mele, Rick (June 5, 2013). "Sam Rockwell in 'The Way, Way Back': Will It Be His Breakout Role?". Moviefone. AOL. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  14. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (January 17, 2014). "Sundance: ‘Laggies’ Sam Rockwell Sets ‘The Eel’ To Reunite With ‘Way Way Back’ Gang". Deadline.com. PMC. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  15. ^ Chrissy Iley (November 11, 2007). It's scary in here.... Interview – Film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-08-18.
  16. ^ "She's still his leading lady! Sam Rockwell and girlfriend Leslie Bibb cosy up on the red carpet as he promotes Seven Psychopaths". Daily Mail (London). 

External links[edit]